When Flashbacks Hurt


Trauma has a way of playing tricks with our minds. Even when we overcome and move forward after being destroyed by the trauma, moving forward can be relative when we are pulled back by the clutches of painful memories and become stagnant at the hands of our oppressors, sometimes our own flashback memories!

It doesn’t matter how painfully we fought the real war, the grief of losses, how God helped us to get through the affliction, the work God did in us to overcome the depression, the hatred, the bitterness…a mere flashback can produce in us all these feelings instantly, and ruin our days forward if we are not careful.

Flashbacks come with a convoy, never ask permission and does not regard our past victories or boundaries.

What is a believer to do, when experiencing setbacks from the grief of affliction? When tormented at the oppression of a flashback?

In Lamentations 3:19-27 we have a model of dealing with this grief;

Being honest and Including God

The author ask God to remember the affliction, wormwood, and the bitterness. He confesses that every time he remembers, he is bowed down in the spirit. (verse 19).  A friend of mine talks about panic attacks with flashback memories almost making her stop at her tracks. When memories from the past flood our soul, it is best to include God and be honest with Him about our emotions.

Power of Recalling God’s Mercy

You fight a sword with a sword. When traumatic memories flood our soul, and begin to spill the toxic around, we attack them and clean it up by recalling the lovingkindness and compassion that sustained us. He recalls the faithfulness of God and that they are new every morning and never fails.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.(verse 21-23)

Progresses to Soul Talk from Recall

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, v-24

When we recall the mercy of God and replay His constant help, we speak to our soul. The author progresses from Recall to speaking to himself.The essence is the conclusion that what worked last time, works this time too.

When You “See”, Hope Seize

The author sees three goodness in the midst of waiting. When he sees the goodness, hope in him rises and seizes the situation. The three ruthless accomplices of affliction can very well be 1) Hopelessness 2)Loneliness 3) Self Pity

In Lamentations chapter 3, verses 25, 26, 27 begins with three goodnesses. These are the exact tools needed to attack the three accomplices of affliction.

  1. The Lord is good to those who wait (verse 25)- attacking hopelessness in our affliction.
  2. It is good that He waits silently (verse 26)- attacking loneliness in affliction.
  3. It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth (verse 27) – attacking self pity in times of affliction.

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